3 December 2014

  |  CBI Press Team


Our reaction to the Autumn Statement

Our full reaction to the 2014 Autumn Statement.

Our reaction to the Autumn Statement

John Cridland, CBI Director-General, said:

“These major changes on stamp duty and business rates will be a shot in the arm for families and growing firms as they look towards 2015. 

“The targeted focus on enterprise is right, but business innovators would have liked to see more on research and development (R&D) to boost UK investment.

“International tax rules are in urgent need of updating, but the decision for the UK to go it alone, outside the OECD process, will be a concern for global businesses, and moving the goalposts on offsetting losses risks creating a worrying precedent.

“We welcome the continued commitment to deficit reduction, but real challenges lie ahead to reduce future public spending, and fresh thinking on public services will be essential.

“In the long term, growth is about people, science and infrastructure, and we warmly welcome the financial support for postgraduate students.”


On business rates, Mr. Cridland said:

“We wanted to see action to tackle our clunky and outdated business rates system, so immediate help, by capping the increase and extending relief for small firms, coupled with a much-needed review, will be welcomed by businesses.”

On stamp duty, Mr. Cridland said:

“We have been calling on the Government to reform stamp duty for a number of years, and the bold changes announced will make it a more progressive system. To ensure a healthy housing market over the longer term, these changes must go hand-in-hand with increasing the supply of new homes.”

On support for growing firms, Mr. Cridland said:

“Growing firms drive innovation in the economy, but they need access to finance to turn ideas into products and services. Beefing up the British Business Bank and continuing with Funding for Lending will help unlock their huge untapped potential. 

“But on their own, these measures will not shift the dial on business lending. The Government must also promote alternative forms of finance and we were pleased to see initial steps taken to kick-start the UK’s private placement market.”

On innovation, Mr. Cridland said:

“The modest improvement to the research and development (R&D) tax credit and funding for research programmes are welcome but don’t mark the step change businesses were looking for. 

“To compete on a global level we need to dramatically increase public and private investment in R&D, particularly on the commercialisation of ideas. Businesses want to see a more ambitious vision in the Science and Innovation strategy when it is published next week.”

On infrastructure, Mr. Cridland said:

"The Roads Investment strategy will bring long awaited, practical improvements, and is a significant step towards much-needed upgrades to our road network, the arteries of our economy. Businesses will now want to see a shift from the drawing board to delivery.”

On further United Kingdom devolution, Mr. Cridland said:

“In devolving Corporation Tax to Northern Ireland, the Government has had to balance the unique needs of local business in the face of growing competition south of the border. But firms across the rest of the UK view a unified business tax regime as an essential pillar of Britain’s single market.

“The Northern Ireland Executive must now push ahead with improving skills and infrastructure to make the nation a more attractive place to invest.

“Businesses will want to see the Welsh Government use its new business rates powers to promote the private sector and attract inward investment for the long term.”

On plans to create a northern powerhouse, Mr. Cridland said:

“Businesses in the north will be encouraged by ongoing support for infrastructure and innovation. Improving transport links and investing in science and technology are vital ingredients for attracting new talent and investment right across the UK.”


On Air Passenger Duty, Mr. Cridland said:

“Whilst the decision to abolish Air Passenger Duty on children’s tickets is good news for families, businesses would like to have seen more support for exporters, particularly to high-growth markets.”

On North Sea oil taxation, Mr. Cridland said:

“The reduction in the rate of the Supplementary Charge is a step in the right direction. We want to see this further reduced as part of a broader roadmap to create a more competitive tax regime, encouraging long term investment in the North Sea.”

On apprenticeships and postgraduate education, Mr. Cridland said:

“It’s right to support firms taking on young apprentices through National Insurance Contributions, but it’s important that this incentive isn’t eaten up by costs and red tape. 

“More support for postgraduate study will help deliver the higher skills that businesses need. We must make sure the system works for part-time as well as full-time students.”